Moonlight Suite


Part I: Waxing


1.You Intimate, Infinite Night (New Moon)

Intimate Night!
Infinite Night!
Your nothing is everything:
All worlds are possible in you.
In sleep you create, in waking devour.
All things are one beneath your hour.
Womb of Night!
Tomb of Night!
The nameless fantasy you write
     Is all.

My thoughts are shapeless,
Liquid shadows diffused in turbulent smoke.
In pitch darkness, I am inside myself,
Warm and indescribably
There is nothing; therefore I am
I am everything;
Therefore I need not despair.

It was cold that night.
Secluded in a father's winter retreat,
A child was born into darkness,
Delivered, screaming, in a frigid cabin.
We come as Night bids us,
          And the light
Hurts our eyes.

2. The Night Before Christmas (Crescent Moon)

It's the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
I am creeping more quiet than any ole' mouse.
The stockings are hung from the curtains with care,
And I tiptoe real carefully down the stair.
The night-light lights up our big Christmas tree,
And I think of the presents waiting for me!
My Mommy and Daddy are all fast asleep,
So I mustn't make noise, no not a peep!
The moon outside is all dangly and thin
And I wonder how Santa will ever get in...

You see
     We don't got a chimney.
Last night, I asked Daddy
     How Santa would get in
And he said:
     "If you're good, my boy, Santa always finds a way in."
"But I have been good."
     I said. "So how will he get in, Daddy?"
And Daddy shrugged and just said:
     "I don't know, son, but he has his ways."
Mommy always talks about
Like that:
     "The Lord works in mysterious ways."
So I asked Daddy:
     "Is Santa like
And he looked at me kind of funny and said:
     "Yeah, a little."
He didn't say nothin' a while,
Then he said,
     "If you're good in life, God brings you good things."
I thought that was awesome,
     But why did Daddy say it like that?
Stopping when he said it like he
     Didn't wanta?

...So I stand by the window and look at the sky
In the hopes that Saint Nick will soon fly by
In his miniature sleigh full of candy and toys
For all of us good little girls and boys.
I asked for a truck and a baseball mitt
Which is just like Timmy's, with his name on it,
And I've never been bad, no never this year,
So bring me my toys and goodies here!
With a "Ho! Ho! Ho!", O Santa, come! Come!
'Cause I'm here at the window just sucking my thumb.

I see a shape go over the moon.
Is it his sleigh? I can't tell.
Maybe I should go upstairs and watch from the window.
Mommy says Santa only comes when everybody's asleep,
     So maybe I should sleep,
But it's hard to when your thinking about
What Santa might have in his bag.

3. Moondance (Half Moon)

In the shifting moon-beams
Cut by the swaying trees,
My nutty cat
Hops all over the bed
Pouncing at my feet
As if they were mice.
She bites sometimes—
Not too hard,
But it's a little annoying.

I love my kitty,
But I'm tired,
And she is driving me batty.

Tomorrow is another day of school.
Mrs. Roberts doesn't like me.
She says I daydream, and disrupt the class.
You're lucky, Kitty,
You get to sleep and play whenever you feel like it
While Mrs. Roberts makes me draw crayon houses,
And remember boring stuff about numbers.
Why do Mommy and Daddy make me go there?
I hate it!
The boys pick fights with me,

And the girls make fun of me.
(They're the worst!)
Timmy's pretty cool, though.
He's my best friend.
We play tag after school,
Catch turtles in the lake.

Why are you acting so loony, Kitty?
Does the moon really make people loony?
     Cats too?
Should I get up and hop around like you?
Mommy and Daddy'd probably get pissed if I did.
But what do they want from me, anyway?
Why can't I just eat, and play, and nap like you?

I like the dark night,
Not like most boys and girls.
I'm not afraid of monsters;
Why would God make monsters?
Daddy taught me to recognize shapes in the stars,
The Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Orion the Hunter,
And I see others that Daddy can't see:
Frodo and Samwise, Smaug the Dragon, Gandalf the Wizard,
And there's one of you, Kitty,
     And me.

The kids at school think I'm crackers,
'Cause I talk about weird things
No-one else thinks of,
But I know the moon isn't made of green cheese,
That it only reflects the light of the sun,
That it pulls on the ocean and the ground,
But what I really want to know
Is: why can't I feel it pulling on me?

Is it pulling on you, Kitty?
Is that why you dance and jump?
Maybe I'm too heavy for it; maybe I could fly
If I were lighter than you.
Sometimes I dream of flying:
I'm running, and then I
          And I just glide through the air.

4. Reflections (Gibbous Moon)

A rocky precipice overlooks the ocean.
For the first time, I've decided to linger here.
The waters below reflect the light
Of a dreamy, pallid moon.
I shall sit here awhile with my thoughts,
Alone, as always, with my solemn, restless thoughts.

Over the sound of the surf,
I hear a distant violin, trembling,
Breathing a sorrowful elegy to that
Ancient idol of nocturnal poets.
It is mine, my fiddle and my song;
A ghostly tune only I and the moon can perceive:

     O moon!
     My surrogate lover!
     I am impoverished,
     Not in wealth or wisdom,
     But in the sweeter things of life:
     Lasting friendships,
     Or the love of woman.

As I watch the brackish waves
Disturb your reflection, O moon,
An ocean rages in my breast,
Like the clashing waters in a treacherous cove
Which leap and froth like a host of fiends.
My reflections are shattered, blasted to the winds,
The reflections of youth and a waxing intellect,
Distorted by hidden tempest:
     To be loved!
Is it possible for one who has stood so long
     Apart from others?
Alas, the years have found me no closer to finding that
Celestial companion
Whose beauty shines, but softly,
Whose virtues illuminate, but modestly,
And whose mind is
     A poet's.

I am more,
Much more than I ever have been.
I grow each day.
New worlds open themselves to my mind,
     Yet one seems to remain
Forever closed,
The realm of Eros, of love and desire,
And I want to know:
Is it merely the cravings of my flesh,
Or is there something deeper, more spiritual
Which I seek in that place?

An invisible hand grips and stretches me—
I dance for an unseen jester.
Blood strains against the chambers of an
     Agitated heart.
The accumulated years, loveless and seemingly empty,
Now stir with unforeseen violence.
Something inside me, long enslaved and oppressed,
Now demands its freedom.
I am expanded outward,
     Temperature soaring,
          Emanating spectra of light and heat.
Looking up at the moon,
I see a new radiance,
     A tripled beacon
          Shining far out into the open sea.

5. Our Desire (Full Moon)

Our desire
Swells like that white-faced sphere
Overlooking our intimate rendezvous.
The park is quiet and deserted.
A fountain whispers to the sky in patter-music;
The air is cool and tremulous.

You are stretched out nude on a carpet of blankets.
Under the radiance of a full moon,
You are entirely illuminated,
Your eyes
Indistinct, but every gesture,
Every motion of your skin
Highlighted in an eldritch glow.
The way your body shifts and turns
Like some strange and lovely serpent,
Trembles when I touch your belly,
Or brush the soft part of your smooth thighs—
Oh, my love!
     It is...
          You are...
               So beautiful!

I've never been this close to a woman before;
It never felt right; I never felt
But now, when I hear your breath,
Low and heavy, quickening with an unanticipated desire,
I want to be closer so I can hear it more distinctly,
Closer so I can see
What the moonlight reveals in your eyes.
     And such eyes!
They are wide and moist, and infinitely deep,
A plea for warmth in the chill evening air,
The warmth of clasped hands,
Torso on torso, mouth on mouth.
To warm you;
I gladly devote myself to this cause,
And my reward is
The very essence of sweetness:
To drown and cherish my drowning,
Consumed in the tides
That rise from within you.

Part II: Waning


6. Premonition (Gibbous Moon)

My sweet and gentle wife.
Last night, after we made love,
And I cuddled you off to sleep,
My eyes would not close.
Bright light poured through our window
Throwing shadows on the wall in front of the bed.

But I wasn't looking at the shadows,
     But at you,
Head propped demurely on your pillow,
Wreathed in spent moonbeams.
Your golden hair was silver then,
A ghostly reflection, like fairies and lace,
     And I thought:
How queenly you will look,
White hair
     (Oh, never cut that hair!)
Flowing over the fine, distinguished features
     Of your face.

I had nearly forgotten
Just how much I adore you
     Until last night.
Now I see
That I have too well mated myself to you;
A part of me has surrendered its rightful place.
So much of my happiness is bound up with you.
Is it the same for you, my dear?
Oh please, my love, no tears...
It is not doubt which moves me,
But a different kind of fear.

7. At the Grave (Half Moon)

No one but me is ever here
     This late.
It is as if men have forgotten
     How to love.

I have new roses for you,
New roses and old thoughts.
My eyes trace an epitaph outlined in moondust:
     Your name,
The name I dare not pronounce
Or even set to paper.

The pain you were in was difficult to bear.
After they diagnosed you, they gave you
Three months at best.
You held on for six.

I tried to hide my grief from you;
I didn't want to make things worse.
But it was useless.
I couldn't help the times
I broke down in front of you,
Sobbing that my own life was ending.
It seemed true then,
And it seems hardly less so today.

We had no children together.
You said, before you died,
That I should marry again,
Maybe have a child by my new spouse.
I followed the first part of your advice.

She was a frigid spider-queen, this new woman.
With false-pity and foolsgold affection, she courted my wealth.
In conversation, she had a gift
     For artifice,
And when I slept with her, I often mistook her
     For a statue.

After hours of dreary, but liberating court proceedings,
She had taken much of my holdings from me:
My house, half of my paintings and furniture,
And a good portion of my securities portfolio,
But I do not pine for these now,
For I know where my dearer losses lie.

You know, it's strange, my dear.
When I visit you here,
It doesn't seem so much like mourning,
But rather like a kind of communion,
     A quiet camaraderie.
It seems as if you've been with me far longer
Than our few happy years together.

When I return home from this place,
I always sleep a little easier,
Dream more comforting dreams.
I keep to myself, these days,
Read, and do the writing
I always said I wished I had the time for.

8. A Winter's Night (Crescent Moon)

My house is barren,
Like a fortress starved out or anointed with plague.
I've never heard the winter wind so loud at my window.
Sometimes I even hear words in its passage.
"I am dying," it says.
It is the moon that speaks
Through the wind's wild lament
But the words were hers on that night.

In my bed, feverish and shivering...
I think of her more and more, these bitter nights.
It seems to me, she was the lucky one,
Spared the wasting sickness of solitary life.
Ah, I readily confess,
I made too few friends in this life,
And now I've become like the Wandering Jew,
Condemned to perambulate this desolate shadow-land
     Of a home,
A home full of her departed life,
Memories of her smiles, her tears, her

The light outside is forlorn;
Is it you, my love?
Do you miss me in your divine place?

Your image is my Muse.
I still write sometimes.
I've even submitted some of my verse for publication,
Lain my wounded heart at the doorstep of critics.
So far, only polite refusals,
Or exhortations to choose "fresher, more original" subjects.

So where do I stand now?
Here, on the shore of a moonlit river,
I see an empty boat drawn by a white swan,
Approaching the near bank in silent, spectral grace.
It is a scene from Lohengrin.
     Do you remember?
We attended that opera together;
You didn't care much for it,
Except for that scene
And the sighing, shivering music which illuminated it.
It is this music that I seek presently,
To mask the wind and its whisperings outside.
I am waiting here,
Here in the wake of a receding moon,
     For that boat.
Where will you take me, O swan?
     My home?
I see now, that this place never was home.
I was never meant to tarry for so long.
Farewell, my love, farewell.

Something in the air has lifted;
The music of yearning and lamentation has ceased.
She is gone and I am truly alone,
And I recall the things I loved before I met her:
To sit alone, posing ultimate questions
To myself and to the world,
To watch and let the world flow over me
And through me,
Leaving traces of itself
     In me.
Once I reveled in solitude;
Now the ancient cult of silence is resurrected.
Tired senses blur into one thought:
Perhaps, I really am everything;
Perhaps I've always been.
She is here—in me—
     And the world,
The world and all that it contains.
In darkness, nothing seems out of place,
     Nothing separate.
I am everything; you are everything;
     We are all
Therefore we need not despair.

9. You Intimate, Infinite Night (New Moon)

Intimate Night!
Infinite Night!
Your nothing is everything:
All worlds are possible in you.
In sleep you create, in waking devour.
All things are one beneath your hour.
Womb of Night!
Tomb of Night!
The nameless fantasy you write
     Is all.


George Chadderdon © 1995